Light Availability Analysis of 24 Southwest Michigan Wetlands
Sirotek, Alexander R.
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Wetland plant distribution is commonly thought to be determined by multiple limiting gradients, particularly pH and nutrient availability. However, Thobaben (2004) found that variation in southwest Michigan wetland plant communities was most highly correlated with pH and shade. To measure shade Thobaben used an estimate of canopy cover based on percent cover values and potential plant height. In this study, fisheye photography and digital analysis were used to provide a more accurate measure of light availability. This measure (percent light blocked) was not as highly correlated with the variance in plant community structure as Thobaben' s measure, but reaffirmed that shade was the second most important factor in describing variation in these wetland communities.